Top 6 Western Art Museums of 2013

/joslyn-museum-karl-bodmer_upsichta-mandan-man1. Joslyn Art Museum: Omaha, NE

To help mark the Union Pacific Railroad’s 150th anniversary, the dynamic Joslyn Art Museum gave visitors “The Great West Illustrated: Celebrating 150 Years of the Union Pacific Railroad” last summer.

The exhibit showcased the 1868 photographs of Andrew J. Russell, who helped document the construction of our nation’s Transcontinental Railroad. Many of his images were published in 1869 in The Great West Illustrated. Yet even without trains, the Joslyn houses one of the premier collections of Western art, from Alfred Bierstadt and Karl Bodmer, to George Catlin and Alfred Jacob Miller—plus Frederic Remington, Charles Russell and Thomas Moran.


amon-carter-museum_fort-worth_charlie-russell2. Amon Carter Museum: Fort Worth, TX

If you love Frederic Remington and Charles Russell—as much as collector, newspaperman and philanthropist Amon Carter did—you will find no better place to visit than this great facility in Fort Worth’s arts district. Last year, 100 of Russell’s watercolors went on display in “Romance Maker: The Watercolors of Charles M. Russell.” Since 1961, the Carter Museum has showcased more than 500 exhibitions.


american-museum-of-western-art_denver-co3. American Museum of Western Art: Denver, CO

Founded in 2010, this nonprofit museum—located in downtown’s Navarre Building in Denver, Colorado—surveys art of the American West from the early 1800s through the age of industrialization. The extraordinary collection provides a thorough look at Western history through the eyes of artists. With the Western and Indian art collections at the Denver Art Museum and the Anschutz collection at this museum, Denver’s reputation as a great city to see Western art keeps growing.



4. Museum of Northern Arizona: Flagstaff, AZ

Fine art and historic art have always been mainstays at this quaint museum. Last November, the exhibit “Arizona’s Pioneering Women Artists” honored “dedicated and talented women artists [who] worked in the West [and] were largely forgotten until recent decades,” curator Alan Petersen says. We thank this museum for bringing attention to women such as Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton, Kate Thomson Cory, Nora Lucy Mowbray Cundell, Jessie Benton Evans, Susan Ricker Knox, Erna Lange, Claire Dooner-Phillips, Marjorie Reed, Lillian Wilhelm Smith and Marjorie Thomas.


eiteljorg-museum-of-american-art_indianapolis5. Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art: Indianapolis, IN

The fabulous Indian Market and Festival—among the tops in the country—celebrated its 20th anniversary at the Eiteljorg last year. Meanwhile, exhibits on Northwest Coast Art and katsina carvings and colors (red, white, blue, black) showed how one of our favorite museums keeps everything covered.



booth-western-art-museum_the-buttes6. Booth Western Art Museum Cartersville, GA

The Booth is another great museum that covers a wide array of special exhibits, including the “Booth Photography Guild’s Annual Exhibition,” “The Indian Gallery of Henry Inman” and “On Location with the Plein-Air Painters of America.” We can’t wait until October, when “Today’s West! Contemporary Art from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West” comes to Georgia.


smithsonian museum


Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, DC): Billionaire William Koch—the same “Wild Bill” who bought the tintype of Billy the Kid for $2.3 million in 2011—is scheduled to bring his Western collection to the nation’s capital. “The Western Frontier,” featuring photographs, paintings, sculptures and ephemera, is set to run March 28 to August 24 in 2014. Art and art museum purists might snub their noses, but Old West aficionados will undoubtedly
love it.

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What do you think?